Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Changing from Pirated to Permitted Software.

Changing from Pirated to Permitted Software

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 23, 2022)

Sindee found out recently that the copy of Microsoft Office installed on her computer was a pirated copy. She purchased a new copy, removed the pirated program, installed the newly purchased software, but discovered that the product key from the pirated version remains on her computer. She is now unable to download any updates to the program and wonders how to fix the situation.

Product keys for Microsoft Office are stored in the Windows Registry. If you want to install a copy of Office that uses a different product key, then you need to delete the place in the Registry where the product key is stored. You do that by following these general steps:

  1. Exit Word.
  2. Start your favorite Registry editor.
  3. Locate the following data key. (This data key, as shown below, is for Word 2007. If you are using a different version of Word, the 12 portion of the key will be different.)
  4.      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Registration
    
  5. Delete the Registration data key. (Just right-click on it and choose Delete.)
  6. Close the Registry editor.

These steps are the "quick and simple" steps to get rid of the product key. Understand that you should not follow these steps if you have multiple versions of Office installed on the same system. In that case, you'll want to follow the more detailed steps outlined in these Knowledge Base articles:

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=895456
https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Change-your-Office-product-key-d78cf8f7-239e-4649-b726-3a8d2ceb8c81

When you start an Office application, you will then have the opportunity to enter the new product key. If you prefer, you can uninstall Microsoft Office before you do the Registry editing, and then reinstall the software from scratch.

If you don't feel comfortable editing the Windows Registry or if you run into other problems doing the uninstall, you can try a free utility such as Revo Uninstaller:

http://www.revouninstaller.com/

The program is much more thorough in its cleaning capabilities than is the regular Windows Uninstaller. It can get rid of all vestiges of Microsoft Office, and then you can reinstall the software with no problems.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9226) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing from Pirated to Permitted Software.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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